Swinhoe’s Snipe

This species is defined as a Review Species . Please submit your records of this species via our record submission page .

Scientific Name: Gallinago megala

Malay Name: Berkik Siberia Selatan

Chinese Name: 大沙锥

Range: Breeds in south-central Siberia and northern Mongolia; a separate disjunct population breeds in Ussuriland, in the Russian far east. Winters in parts of southern and eastern China, the Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia, and northern Australia.

Taxonomy: Monotypic.

Size: 27-29 cm

Identification: The rarest of three Gallinago snipes in Singapore, but possibly overlooked due to difficulty in separation from Pin-tailed. From Common Snipe, most obviously differentiated by a lack of clear white trailing edge to the secondaries, shorter bill and larger-headed appearance (see that species for more differences). Apart from a series of overlapping and weakly defined separation features, only truly differentiable from Pin-tailed Snipe with a clear view of the spread tail (or measurements in the hand). On this species, only the outermost pair of tail feathers are narrow (varying from 2 to 4 mm wide), while the rest gradually increase in width towards the central feathers (giving the impression of at least two intermediate-width tail feathers outside the central few, while Pin-tailed shows one intermediate-width feather between the central tail feathers and the six to nine pin-like feathers on the outertail).

Similar looking species: Pin-tailed Snipe, Common Snipe

Habitat: Damp grasslands, edges of waterbodies, and muddy freshwater marshes.

Behaviour/Ecology: Flushed Swinhoe's Snipes are often silent. A snipe that is silent when flushed is more likely Swinhoe's than Pin-tailed, but this is only suggestive. Vocal differences between the two species are poorly understood and more study may reveal that differentiation by flight calls is possible.

Local Status: Rare migrant

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2016)

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Past records in our database:

Showing only accepted records. Note that records currently under review are also not displayed, and the list may not be a full list of records of this species in Singapore. For more details, check the database here.

Migrant bar chart (see more bar charts):

Swinhoe's Snipe Gallinago megala
Average number of individuals by week based on Singapore Bird Database data, Jul 2013 to Jun 2023 (all records)
Peak weeks Jan 01-Jan 07, Jan 15-Jan 21, Jan 22-Jan 28 (3 more)
Early date 05 Nov 1955
Late date 19 Apr 2020
Much rarer than Pin-tailed Snipe, but possibly overloooked due to difficulty in separation from that species. Indeed, large numbers of snipes are left unidentified by observers, and with lots of effort, it is probably possible to pick out one of these among a large enough group of snipes.


BirdLife International. (2016). Gallinago megala. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22693090A93383287.en. Accessed on 1 January 2023

Leader, P. J., & Carey, G. J. (2003). Identification of Pintail Snipe and Swinhoe’s Snipe. British Birds, 96, 178–198.

Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.

Bakewell, D. (2014). Keep Calm and Study Snipes! Part 2. Dig deep. Retrieved September 19, 2021, from https://digdeep1962.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/keep-calm-and-study-snipes-part-2/.

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